With wheels spinning and riders carving, the brief history of longboarding comes to life, resonating with the echoes of generations past. As a testament to the fusion of creativity and athleticism, this narrative unfolds—taking us from the earliest experiments in sidewalk surfing to the contemporary landscape where longboarding reigns as both a mode of transportation and an exhilarating art form.
The Very Beginning
If we go back to the history, the fun of longboarding started in 1959. Surfers in Hawaii introduced this modified version of surfing on a wheely longboard. The reason behind this modification was the weather of Hawaii. Sometimes, waves in the sea were not ideal for surfing restricting the surfers to practice. Considering this scenario, longboards were introduced to allow surfers to enjoy surfing on the street during unfavorable weather conditions.The urge of surfers to surf regularly without giving any break led the formation of skateboard to a little modification into longboard. This means that skateboards were already in use and later were modified into longboards for sea surfers. To understand the proper progression of longboarding, we will discuss all development eras one by one in detail.
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Age of Downhill and Street Surfing
Gradually, skateboarding became quite popular among surfers who were fed up with unfavorable sea weathers. During that initial period of skateboarding, Penny Boards were quite popular and were widely used by most of the surfers. Somewhere around the 1960s, skateboarding on the California coastline became a trend and led to an increased demand of skateboards by surfers. Considering this scenario, many companies started manufacturing skateboards.In 1963, the first exhibition of different models of skateboards was held in California. A TV show also covered this exhibition and played a significant role in the promotion of skateboarding. With the release of several skateboard models, surfers began to enjoy tricks and drills as well. They were happy to surf on the road as they didn’t need to wait for friendly waves anymore to enjoy surfing.
Fall of Popularity
More Improvement in the 1970s
Development in the 1980s
In the 1980s, both types of boards ran side by side serving different purposes. Somewhere during the early years of this era, a separate and functional model of longboard for downhill style was introduced. Although this is the era when skateboard and longboard held their identity, the boards were almost same in size and shape. Longboards were not noticeably longer than skateboards. Shapes of both were also almost identical and didn’t highlight any significant differences.However, big sized polyurethane wheels and a smaller deck of longboard made it quite easier and smoother for riders to enjoy cruising. The mini longboard with around 55cm to 76cm made it more comfortable for the riders to get control over the board. What made it more interesting was that it was easy to carry anywhere and keep in the locker safely. Students especially found this mini longboard travel-friendly and lightweight.
In the 1990s the Great Improvement
When it comes to pinpointing the pivotal era that marked significant progress and expansive growth for longboards, the spotlight shines on the 1990s. Leading the charge was the company Sector 9, which spearheaded the commercial production of skateboards. This groundbreaking endeavor took shape in the mid-1990s, a time when no commercial skateboard production had previously occurred, not even in skateboarding hotspots like Hawaii or California. Sector 9’s pioneering initiative ignited the surge in popularity and widespread usage of longboards, ushering in a revolutionary period for this skateboard variant.
Central to this transformative era was Sector 9’s introduction of the functional kingpin truck for longboards. This innovation played a pivotal role in elevating performance standards. Kingpin trucks proved instrumental in enhancing maneuverability and responsiveness of longboards. Furthermore, this feature significantly contributed to the board’s enhanced controllability and stability.
Beyond the evolution in longboard design, the 1990s also held great significance in terms of raising awareness about longboards. During this timeframe, numerous online communities emerged as platforms for disseminating pertinent information about the latest longboard models. These online forums served as hubs for sharing practical ideas aimed at improving longboard technology. Thus, the 1990s played a momentous role in propelling the growth of skateboarding and longboarding alike.
Diversity of Use
Unlike a skateboard, the use of longboard has been quite extensive from the very beginning. The styles to ride this particular object have upgraded from time to time. In the beginning, as we have already mentioned above, longboards were only used for downhill riding and street cruising. Later in the early 2000s, longboards became favorite riding equipment for the youth and athletes. Gradually, the use of longboards was diversified, and different styles of riding were attempted with this equipment.Aside from downhill and street cruising, longboards also turned out to be entirely compatible for carving, freestyle riding and sliding. Professionals began using them for tricks and drills as well. The most popular tricks users attempt with longboards are called Ollie and Flip-kick. This is how longboards proved themselves to be the most multi-functional riding equipment.
Age of Mass Popularity
Finally, in 2010, longboards were mass popular! People used this equipment for various purposes. Some rode it to seek fun while others used it as a source of transport. City touring on longboard has been a significant trend from the very beginning. People with longboards always preferred covering small distance with this fun equipment in a natural way while enjoying refreshing city environment.In this period, the majority of students came to college riding their longboards because it was easy to carry indoors and ride the narrow paths inside the college. Many of them always loved to perform thrilling tricks in college to impress their friends. In fact, longboard races and maneuverability competitions were also held publically and in colleges to promote this sport.
Current Age of Longboarding
In this current age, longboarding is quite popular among kids, teenagers, and adults. Now, this sport is relatively advanced. From the production of longboards to their marketing. Everything is done on a broader scale. The high-quality material is used in the making of innovative models of longboards. Aside from manual longboards, now electric longboards are also available in the market. These are ideal for short distance traveling especially if the rider is not in the mood for investing any energy.It won’t be wrong to say that this current age highlights the dramatic popularity and acceptance of longboards. Majority of youngsters use latest models of this riding equipment to enjoy road surfing and quick traveling to school and college. With every passing day, there is an increase in the riders resulting in rising in the selling of longboards. Longboard industry has become quite a business with upgraded marketing and high production.
Now, this sport is not only restricted to the sports magazine but is also covered by renowned sports channels. In short, this activity has become quite a thing!
The advancement of longboards is like a long journey with short pauses. This activity has taken many years to establish itself as a proper sport among youth and adults. Beginning its journey from the 1950s, longboards have been through a lot of advancements and modifications to reach the peak popularity in the current age successfully. From amusement to traveling, longboards have served riders in many ways.
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